Late in August of 1942 the German Sixth Army bore down on Stalingrad. The German commander, General Freidrich Paulus, had much to contemplate regarding how he would approach the task of seizing the city that would become the bane of his existence and end his military career in catastrophic fashion. Stalingrad sprawled down the broad Volga River's western bank in a long (at over 25 miles) strip of land. Problematically for it's defenders, the Volga's western bank rose significantly higher than it's east bank.
In recent weeks I have been examining the Soviet offensives launched against the German Sixth Army's flanks as it pounded it's way into Stalingrad. However, there is one important point that needs to be stressed. The First Kotluban offensive of September 1942 was far from the first Soviet effort to throw back Sixth Army from Stalingrad. In fact, from the very first day that Sixth Army's spearheads reached the Volga River they were under near continuous attack.
On August 23, 1942 Sixth Army's XIV Panzer Corps exploded from its bridgehead over the Don River.
Last month I began an in-depth look at what was happening outside Stalingrad while what has become one of the most remembered battles of the Second World War was waged in the streets and ruins of the city. I started with a look at the Soviet Stalingrad Front's First Kotluban Offensive during the first week of September 1942. This offensive was directed against the German Sixth Army's VIII Army Corps (384th and 76th Infantry Divisions) and XIV Panzer Corps (the 16th Panzer Division and 3rd and 60th Motorized Divisions) .
Most commentators like to point out that the attack failed miserably.
Seventy-four years ago one of the Second World War's most important battles raged in the Russian city of Stalingrad. That fighting still attracts the attention of history enthusiasts to this day, but what is often forgotten is that what was happening outside Stalingrad had an enormous impact on events inside the city.
General of Panzer Troops Friedrich Paulus's Sixth Army and Colonel General Hermann Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army spent September of 1942 battering the Soviet Southeastern Front's 62nd (commanded by Lieutenant General Anton Ivanovich Lopatin until relieved in mid-September by